Have You Ever Heard of Nolan’s Cheddar?

Probably not.  But maybe you’ve seen this ad somewhere on the web.  It’s a spot for a cheese billed as “Seriously Strong” and “Award Winning Cheddar Since 1859.”  Over :90 rather amusing seconds, we watch the adventure of a mouse as he plays with fire by eating cheese off a trap, falls victim to the spring arm, and then battles back mightily.  Three different music tracks score this narrative: The Carpenter’s “Top of the World”, the Doors’ “The End” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”  These songs have all been licensed before, but the fiscal audacity of a small cheese company springing for three recognizable tunes boggles the mind.

The thing is, it just doesn’t make sense: even before blowing billions to buy Cadbury, Kraft Cheese couldn’t have afforded all those music rights, let alone some local cheese brand.  And it made even less sense when YouTube scrolled up an ad for Survivor’s hit single as the piece played.

Of course, it didn’t make sense because there is no Nolan’s Cheese.  But there is a John Nolan.  And he makes animatronics and special effects for films.  You know, like this viral one that you just watched.  Which won’t sell a pound of non-existent cheese but well may garner work and inquiries for Mr. Nolan.

I still haven’t figured out if or how he secured the music rights, but I do envy his freedom in operating within the still relatively wild and lawless world of digital video.  As advertisers, we could never do anything like this.  I mean, you try doing this kind of thing for a client in regular advertising and you know what happens?

The cheese stands alone.  In court.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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